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23-Year Old Beheaded In Anti-Gay Hate Crime Murder In South Africa

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A 23-year old transgender and gay man was beheaded in his home town of Kuruman, South Africa Friday, in an anti-gay hate crime. Thapelo Makutle, who was crowned Miss Gay Kuruman, was murdered by two men who remain at large. Reports state that police, for reasons of language and training, are not classifying the murder as a hate crime, and do not understand the significance of the attack. On report states the police reject that Makutle was beheaded, but acknowledge his throat was slashed.

Mamba Online reports:

According to the group Legbo Northern Cape, Thapelo Makutle was attacked at his place of work in the John Taolo Gaetsewe district on Friday. The organisation said that there was an argument related to “his sexuality and homosexuality”.

His two attackers are believed to have followed him to the room where he lived and on Saturday cut his throat, decapitating him.

They left his body under a blanket as though he were sleeping.

Makutle, who identified as both gay and transgender, was a volunteer for Legbo Northern Cape. He recently participated in the Kimberley Out In Africa Gay and Lesbian Festival, was known as a beauty queen named Queen Bling and was recently crowned Miss Gay Kuruman.

“It’s so sad. I can’t describe the pain that we are feeling right now,” Shaine Griqua, director of Legbo Northern Cape, told Mambaonline. “We have lost a young, talented, gay man who was open about who he was. The last few days have been like a dark cloud.”

He said that no arrests have yet been made in connection with the murder. He expressed his frustration with the lack of support for LGBT people in the Northern Cape and noted that hate crimes are on the rise in the province.

“We recently had a lesbian stabbed three times in a bar because they said that she should be a woman and not a man. She chose not to press charges because she didn’t want her family involved,” Griqua said.

“The government is not interested in this problem,” he added.

A later report form Mamba Online states:

According to the Mothibistad police, Thapelo Makutle’s body was found lying on the floor of his rented room. It is alleged that the victim has been out with his friends that night. He left unannounced and his friends assumed that he had gone home to sleep.

Shaine Griqua, Director of Legbo Northern Cape, who first reported the attack, said that confusion around the state of the body likely stems from miscommunication due to most people in the area not speaking English as a first language.

Griqua believes that the attack was a hate crime and said that he has information that Makutle was killed as a result of an argument about his sexuality and gender appearance, but police have yet to confirm this, saying that the motive is as yet unknown.

He told Mambaonline that the police in the area are ill-equipped to deal appropriately with a hate crime.

“These people [the police] are not reliable. They don’t even know what a hate crime is. If you ask them if it was related to his sexuality they will say ‘no’ because they don’t understand the context,” Griqua insisted.

Global Post adds:

In a statement, Cosatu’s Northern Cape secretary Anele Gxoyiya condemned “this brutal attack on a young, brilliant and educated soul whose head was chopped off in a hate crime.”

While South Africa is one of the few countries in the world to extend equal rights to homosexuals, and the only nation in Africa to allow same-sex marriage, the reality of life in townships and rural areas for gays and lesbians has been one of often brutal violence.

In a high-profile incident last year, Noxolo Nogwaza, a lesbian activist based in KwaThema township near Johannesburg, was gang-raped and then stabbed and stoned to death, in what the New York-based group Human Rights Watch described as part of an “epidemic” of hate crimes against gays and lesbians in South Africa.

Politics Web published a statement in response to the murder, by Lindiwe Mazibuko MP, Democratic Alliance Parliamentary Leader:

This violent and gruesome assault is yet another reminder that many of our country’s people are still denied the basic rights and freedoms which our Constitution enshrines.

There is a spate of homophobic hate crimes which have recently taken place across our country, including the repugnant and unconscionable crime of so-called “corrective rape” committed against lesbian South African women.

At this time, South Africa needs strong leadership from President Jacob Zuma, and an indication of his commitment to ensuring that all South Africans are able to live their lives free from fear of discrimination or violence.

Unfortunately, the silence from the Presidency has been deafening. This silence is made worse by the fact that President Zuma has in the past shown himself to be prejudiced towards homosexuals.

Last year, the DA welcomed the establishment of a government-led Joint Task Team on a “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) Intervention Strategy”, established in September 2011, under the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development.

Unfortunately, this task team has yet to make any report on its work.

Meanwhile, the spate of crimes continues.

President Zuma must speak out against this weekend’s horrific murder, and the many others like it, which are in danger of becoming all too commonplace in our country today.

I will today be calling for a debate in Parliament about the prevalence of these crimes in South Africa, and calling on MPs to discuss what can be done by the government to address this ongoing problem.

In addition, I will also be writing to the President to ask what immediate steps his government will be taking to address the violence and intimidation that homosexual South Africans must face on a daily basis.

Such crimes, and the President’s silence on them, cannot be allowed to continue.

Hat-tip: Towleroad

 

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News

White House Adds 20 Percent Increase to ‘Best Case’ Projection of Coronavirus Deaths

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The White House is moving the goal posts once again. Instead of taking drastic action, like asking every state’s governor to mandate a quarantine to reduce the spread of coronavirus, it is quietly upping its projected death toll, just one day after stunning Americans with a six-digit death rate.

On Sunday President Donald Trump told Americans he thinks if 100,000 Americans die from coronavirus he will have done “a very good job.”

On Monday Dr. Deborah Birx announced the White House is projecting 100,000 to 200,000 deaths.

Tuesday evening, the number increased 20 percent.

It’s now telling Americans that it is expecting up to 240,000 coronavirus deaths – as the best case scenario.

Trump spent a good portion of Tuesday’s coronavirus press briefing claiming that “a lot of people” wanted him to do nothing and just “ride it out.” He noted that deaths then would be 1.5 million to 2.2 million. He used those numbers to pat himself on the back, saying again that by comparison 100,000 to 240,000 “is a very low number.”

It is not. It is directly attributable to the President’s refusal to take seriously the coronavirus pandemic from the start, to Trump’s refusal to provide enough tests, and to Trump’s refusal to provide enough medical equipment and supplies.

 

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QUID PRO PPE

White House Official Admits Trump Has Politicized Coronavirus Response – Favoring Red States to Grab Electoral College Votes: Report

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“The president knows Florida is so important for his reelection”

President Donald Trump has politicized the federal government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, from how it allocates medical equipment and supplies like PPE, to how it responds to requests from red state governors versus blue state governors – and a White House official is freely admitting it.

The Trump administration is sending red states like Florida – which has helped elect with the winner of every presidential race consistently since 1996 – all the coronavirus personal protective gear (PPE) that it has requested, while blue states which he has no chance of winning – like New York – are getting a fraction of their requests filled.

Trump is strongly supporting Florida’s new Republican governor, Ron DeSantis (photo, with Trump), who refused to close his beaches during spring break. That move alone allowed college students to potentially carry the coronavirus back to their friends, families, and dorm mates throughout the nation, fueling the pandemic.

“Officials in Florida have pointed to the close relationship between DeSantis and Trump as a helpful tool in shaping federal policy,” The Washington Post reports. “The two speak almost daily. Trump has formed an especially close relationship with DeSantis, a former congressman whose pugilistic defenses of the president helped him secure a race-changing endorsement in his 2018 bid for governor. Trump will probably need the 29 electoral votes of his adopted homestead to win reelection.”

The Post suggests it was DeSantis’ complaints that fueled Trump’s threat this past weekend to quarantine the tri-state area..

“During a phone call on Saturday, DeSantis complained about people with the coronavirus traveling from New York to Florida. Minutes later, Trump publicly said he was considering a quarantine for New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. He ultimately decided against it.”

It’s not just policy that Trump is helping DeSantis with.

“One White House official said Trump is attuned to the electoral importance of Florida in November, giving added weight to the arguments DeSantis has made to the administration that his state’s economy should reopen as soon as possible.”

“The president knows Florida is so important for his reelection so when DeSantis says that, it means a lot,” said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to be frank. “He pays close attention to what Florida wants.”

“Three days after requesting 430,000 surgical masks, 180,000 N95 respirators and other equipment on March 11, Florida received all of the items,” The Post continues.  “The state received an additional shipment less than two weeks later. As of late last week, it was awaiting a third shipment.”

 

 

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PRESIDENTIAL PANDEMIC PHONING

Trump’s Schedule is Empty Because He’s Spending His Days Chatting With Titans of Industry, World Leaders, and Celebrities

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President Donald Trump isn’t jetting off aboard Air Force One every few days to preside over MAGA and KAG campaign rallies anymore, now that his pandemic is keeping much of the nation – including the president – at home. World leaders have stopped calling – at least in person – so his televised Oval Office diatribes have come to an end, at least temporarily.

Trump’s calendar has been looking pretty empty these days (not a dramatic change from pre-pandemic days.)

NCRM scoured Trump’s published schedule.

He hasn’t held an actual campaign rally since March 6.

He hasn’t held a fundraiser since March 8.

He received (or at least had scheduled) just seven “daily” intelligence briefings in March – up from just three in February.

Trump has met with supply chain distributors, nurses, tourism industry executives, bankers, and pharmaceutical executives.

And daily he’s held his nationally televised coronavirus task force press briefings, which are little more than toned-down campaign rallies during which Trump freely spreads lies and misinformation, and which the news networks all-too-often air live, unmoderated, and un-fact checked.

According to my The Washington Post, however, Trump has been filling his days, with phone calls. To celebrities and sports figures, along with business and world leaders. Just how much of that is aiding the war effort against the coronavirus is anyone’s guess.

“The 73-year-old, who famously loves to kibitz on the phone, is known for reaching out to cable news hosts, rich friends and assorted associates at all hours to shoot the breeze,” The Post reports. “Cooped up in the White House for weeks now, except for a brief trip to Virginia on Saturday, Trump appears to be working the phones even harder than usual. Corporate executives, governors, celebrities and foreign leaders looking to get something from the U.S. government seem especially eager to secure a telephonic audience with the president.”

Just how much help Trump is giving the national fight against that “invisible enemy” – the coronavirus – which he says has made him a “wartime president,” is another story.

Trump talked with famous chef Wolfgang Puck, promising him the would have the IRS will restore the tax deductibility of meals and entertainment for corporations.

“I’ve directed my staff to use any and all authority available to give restaurants, bars, clubs incentives to stay open,” Trump said.

He’s talked with Apple CEO Tim Cook. Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun, New York Yankees baseball star Alex Rodriguez, NFL star Tom Brady, and “friends in New York who have been stricken by the coronavirus.”

Of course, Trump has called in to Fox News host Sean Hannity’s show, and Fox News’ “Fox & Friends” morning show as well.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, Russian President Vladimir Putin, U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and China’s President Xi Jinping also made Trump’s call sheet. Russia and China reportedly are sending the U.S. supplies to help fight COVID-19, although exactly what remains unknown. Trump infamously sent China 17.8 tons of medical supplies, including PPE, in February – after being warned there would be a tremendous shortage.

 

 

 

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